The Accumulation of Cyclical Operations

University of Edinburgh
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Drawing On: Journal of Architectural Research by Design, 2020, (03)
Issue Date:
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Intersecting architectural and performance practices, this design research examines how site specific performance can activate engagement in the spatial politics of contested urban and rural landscapes in Australia. Carried out through a series of iterative performances, the research seeks to provide new creative practice knowledge to the field of critical spatial practice. Combining critical theory and practice-based research, the research methodology interrogates the disciplinary boundaries of architecture and performance through the performative re-appropriation of a series of landmark buildings and contested landscapes. Questioning hegemonic structures within the spatial arrangements of dominant modes of cultural production, the research incites an active political engagement in the spatial relations between performers, audiences and environments. Exploring the cultural, ethical, and political resonances produced by performative interventions, the research has evolved through two phases of project investigations. Commencing with two recitals situated in 19th century urban landmark buildings - Melbourne's Flinders Street Station ballroom and the Princess Street Theatre; followed by a phase of investigative engagement with the spatial politics of contested Australian landscapes; at Hobart's municipal rubbish dump and a property acquired by the Indigenous Land Corporation as part of a land bank established for Aboriginal people. Questioning the ongoing impact of colonialism in Australia, the research curates material, spatial and acoustic disciplines in a variety of contested settings to reveal the limitations of traditional architectural and musical practices to control the dynamics of ‘natural’ environmental systems. Through an active engagement with the spatial politics of contested landscapes, the research reinforces a critical standpoint that seeks not only to reflect and describe existing conditions, but also to transform and imagine something different. ⁠
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